"What are you doing this weekend?" the jefe asked before I left on Friday.
"Apple picking with the chica somewhere in Oak Glen," I responded.
"Beat you to it--I went with my family two weeks ago," he replied.
"Why didn't you blog about it?" I wondered.
Thus, this post: a brief summation of a wonderful time for anyone willing to drive about an hour to the Southland's apple-picking country.
Oak Glen is a historic village in the San Bernardino Mountains, just north of Yucaipa up a winding road that passes through about a dozen family-owned farms, most of which grow apples. The most popular is Riley's Farm, the orchard the jefe visited. We stopped at the place right next to it: the Willowbrook Apple Farm, about 2 1/2 acres of apple trees more than a century old. For about $2 a pound, you can pick to your stomach's delight and even transform your pickings into cider using a hand crank.
"It's a bumper crop for apples this year," one of the workers told me. He explained that last year had no crop--a frost killed the blossoms just as they were beginning to sprout, destroying any chance of any apples. All the trees on the property shined with the apples, of the Stayman Winesap variety. It's tarter than usual, and also possesses a thicker skin, which made it perfect for the pioneers of the area to grow the varietal as it stayed longer than other, more-brittle apples.
This is a fine day trip for folks looking to entertain kiddies, or looking for a spontaneous date. And this post now ends for the meanwhile--the chica is preparing apple butter as we speak. Details to come...
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Willowbrook Apple Farm, 12099 S. Oak Glen Rd., Oak Glen, (909) 797-9484; willowbrookapple.tripod.com.